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217 I feel, although I cannot be explicit, that Cornelius Osgood is responsible for much of the manner in which I look upon archeology; the discussions, not to say arguments, in which we engaged during the years from 1931 to 1936 keep coming back in many forms and in many contexts. Walter W. Taylor (1948: 10) Walter Taylor’s undergraduate years at Yale brought him into close and continuing apprenticeship with Cornelius Osgood, who had joined Yale in 1930 and became curator of the anthropology collections at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History in 1934. Osgood was an old-fashioned anthropologist, carrying on primary fieldwork in both archaeology and ethnography and writing up his data in graceful, vibrant prose. The conjunctive approach1 was his modus operandi, although he may not have used Taylor’s favored term. This chapter examines the work and research orientation of Prof. Osgood, with particular emphasis on segments of his thought that seem likely to have contributed to the vision and mission of his student, Walter Taylor. Cornelius Osgood was born in Massachusetts in 1905 and obtained both his bachelor’s (1927) and doctoral (1930) degrees from the University of Chicago,where he was a classmate of Frederick Eggan, both taking a seminar with Fay-Cooper Cornelius Osgood, Preceptor Chapter fourteen Alice Beck Kehoe Alice Beck Kehoe 218 Cole. Edward Sapir was another of his professors, arriving in Chicago in 1925 and moving to Yale in 1931 (Darnell 2001: 21). After summer 1927, traveling through Sekani country in British Columbia to Chipewyan in Lake Athabasca, Osgood was employed by the National Museum of Canada from 1928 to 1929, doing fieldwork at Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territory, in spring 1928 and remaining there until fall 1929. Further fieldwork in 1931, 1932, 1934, and 1937 (and 1956) with Deg Hit’an (“Ingalik”), Gwich’in (“Kutchin”), and Tanaina made him the preeminent ethnologist on northern Dené (“Athabascans”) (see references in Osgood 1936, 1937, 1971; Helm 1981). His culture-area map of the region, published in 1936 as The Distribution of the Northern Athapaskan Indians, remains a basic contribution to the ethnohistories of these nations; it was rather precocious in that young Osgood could only have barely sampled that vast territory, yet his penetrating intelligence grasped the lay of the land and the fluidity of ethnic terms among these small communities. After ten years in the western subarctic, Osgood in 1938 began fieldwork in Yunnan, China. After a World War II hiatus, China and Korea engaged his active research for the remainder of his career. He married a Chinese woman of cultivated artistic taste and, after she died, a younger woman of Chinese descent, a graduate student. Osgood also formally taught and discussed museology and published on anthropology in museums in 1979 at the invitation of the Milwaukee Public Museum. Least known of Osgood’s work is his 1930s archaeological research in northern South America and the Caribbean.AtYale, he felt the institution expected him above all to create research projects involving graduate students, giving less attention to teaching other students and even less to curatorial duties at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History (Osgood 1979: 2). He was excited in 1941 to be told that Yale would build an anthropology museum. Between 1937 and 1961 he taught a graduate seminar on museums wherein he conceptualized the ideal anthropological museum, utilizing his observations from hundreds of visits to museums around the world. Yale disappointed him by deciding that such an ideal museum was too expensive; Osgood remarked,“I seemed personally unable to accept any substitute for the superiority in achievement to which I believed Yale was entitled” (Osgood 1979: 2). Osgood’s Conceptualization of Culture Like Clark Wissler in his American Museum series on Blackfoot culture (Wissler 1910; 1911; 1912), Osgood divided his major work on Ingalik into separate volumes on Material Culture, Social Culture, and Mental Culture. (Wissler titled his third volume Ceremonial Bundles . . . , referring to religious matters.) This approach, aside from invoking the Indo-European magic number three, may have derived directly from Wissler,who taught atYale along with his full-time job at the American Museum in New York and whose influence is acknowledged by 219 Cornelius Osgood, Preceptor Osgood in the preface to his 1979 study of museums (Osgood 1979: 3). Osgood states that material culture came first because a presentation of the physical productions of culture was a logical preliminary to writing about human behavior. It became increasingly apparent that I could not...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781607320784
Related ISBN
9780870819520
MARC Record
OCLC
664572617
Pages
488
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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